22 March 2018

Your smartphone is a dumbphone

Your smartphone is one of over 7 billion that have been manufactured since 2007. Its impact on our planet is substantial, from its production, all the way to its disposal.

Your smartphone is made using mineral resources, sometimes conflict minerals, rare earth metals, toxic materials and plastics. Air, water and soil are polluted to extract these elements, and our planet is drained of valuable resources. Some of the toxic chemicals found in phones can even affect your health if released into nature when the phone is disposed of.

All in all, it takes 70 kg of natural resources to manufacture, use and dispose one smartphone. That is 600 times its weight. Not surprising then that 75% of your smartphone’s CO2 emissions are linked to its manufacturing.

The number of smartphones sold each year keeps increasing, but only a fraction comes from first-time buyers. You’re probably one of the 78% who simply replaced your phone for reasons which could have been solved during the design stage:

  • a cracked screen that is too expensive or difficult to repair
  • a battery that doesn’t perform anymore and can’t be replaced
  • software which cannot be updated and renders your perfectly good phone useless
  • not being able to upgrade parts, such as the camera, and wanting to use the latest innovations Sounds familiar? Well at this rate, we will soon have more phones in our landfills than people on the planet.

Make your smartphone smart again

Changing the way your smartphone is designed is the best way to make your phone better for both you and the environment. Through Ecodesign and Energy Label laws, all the problems above and more can be effectively addressed and you’ll see the lifespan of your phone increase. With a proven track-record, Ecodesign and Energy Label laws are set to reduce the EU’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by 7% in 2020. That is equivalent to taking 167 million cars off the road. No other EU laws can ensure that your smartphone becomes more durable, repairable, upgradable and recyclable as Ecodesign could.

Join our call on the European Commission to:

  • Regulate smartphones with Ecodesign and an Energy Label by 2021
  • Introduce Ecodesign requirements that will make smartphones more durable, repairable, and recyclable, such as ensuring access to key components like the battery, improve shock and water resistance and make software updates and spare parts available for a set amount of time
  • Give smartphones an Energy Label so you can pick the best product on the market. The label should indicate a repair rating or a free warranty period, and will encourage more competition between manufacturers. This will promote more resource efficient phones.

Smartphones have become indispensable. Let’s finally make them live up to their name.

ECOS is co-funded by the European Commission and EFTA

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